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While he has his doubters, Kenny Pickett does have a pretty significant Hall of Fame quarterback on his side. Terry Bradshaw, who helped lead the Steelers to four Super Bowl wins during the 1970s, says his former team should stay the course with Pickett, who is only two years into his NFL career. 

Bradshaw passionately defended his stance on Pickett, who will have to beat out competition this summer if he is going to remain the Steelers' starter. 

"I love Pickett," Bradshaw said on "The Rich Eisen Show.'' 

"I know him well. He's fiercely competitive. He's a tough-minded kind. Things don't bother him. I really like him a lot." 

Bradshaw used fellow 2022 draft pick Brock Purdy as an example of how a young quarterback can excel if he has enough support around him. He feels Pickett can have similar success if the Steelers surround him with similar help. 

"Kenny's got the poise," Bradshaw said. "I just want my quarterback to be poised. If he's poised, then his brain's gonna be calm, he's going to see the coverages, he's going to be quick with his decision making. And Pickett has all of that."

Rumors have surfaced regarding Justin Fields and the Steelers possibly acquiring the Chicago Bears' quarterback via a trade. Bradshaw said that would be "a huge mistake." 

"You don't need Fields," Bradshaw said. "Stay with what you got. Just build (Pickett) up. Get him another receiver. Give him an explosive tight end. Give him another tackle, give him a guard. Have the ability to protect him. And give him guys on the outside. This is a passing league, now. Get him people out there that can run and catch the football that are smart.

"That's their guy. There's probably going to be a lot of negative (said) about him, but that's the guy I would go with."

Bradshaw can relate to what Pickett is going through. A fellow former first-round pick, Bradshaw endured enormous criticism during his first several years in Pittsburgh. Bradshaw overcame on-field struggles and the outside criticism by his fifth season. He won a Super Bowl that year and ended his career with three more rings, two Super Bowl MVP awards, and a league MVP award. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. It's no coincidence that Bradshaw's improvement coincided with the Steelers' building of a championship-level roster. 

Pickett may not end up being that good, but it's safe to say that his potential is still largely unknown. He won his last five starts during his rookie season (not including a loss to Baltimore that saw Picket leave the game in the first quarter) and was 7-4 in games he finished this past season. Six of his 14 career wins included fourth quarter comebacks and half of his wins included a game-winning drive. 

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The biggest knocks against Pickett are his injuries and lack of numbers. Both of those issues, though, should be improved with the addition of new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who said his first order of business is to develop a rapport with Pickett. 

"There's a trust that's got to built daily, and it goes both ways," Smith told the team's website. "I've got to earn Kenny's trust, and vice versa. 

"As we build this offense, there's all of the things that we want to work on and want him to work on and take command of this offense." 

Like Bradshaw, it's clear that the Steelers still believe in Pickett, at least at some level. While the job won't be given to him, Pickett will get the chance to earn the opportunity to be the Steelers' starting quarterback in 2024, with Bradshaw firmly in his corner.